This is an interview I did with Fast follower Donna Jean Braman prior to the first Great American Fast in 2011. Donna had a heart for God. So much so that God took her home in a tragic car accident just three weeks before the fast on July 3, 2011. Her insights live on.
William: Donna, it's really great to have you along for The Great American Fast! I know you're no stranger to prayer and fasting. Do you have some thoughts for those that may be fasting for the first time this July 3rd?
Donna: I think the Great American fast for one day is a perfect first time fast. Most people start out with a single meal fast and then go to the full 24 hour fast. Or, you may choose a juice fast for the first time. But eventually you must go to just water because fasting is about self denial to show God your desire or anguish on a matter which is what moves Him.
A fast means complete denial of nutrition. The purpose is to show God how empty you are of yourself and seeking Him and His Kingdom for the purpose of Him to move on a situation. This takes humility and self denial in that process of coming before Him. In the Great American Fast we are wanting to lift the sin and change the hearts of the people of this nation. So God says, how bad do you want it? Let me see the anguish in your heart. Some bondage and oppression actually requires a longer fast accompanied with prayer.
But for the purpose here which is to bring our nation back in line with God’s commandments and love for Him, we are going to have to be very contrite in spirit and cry out to Him and show Him how it pains us to see our nation turn from Him.
A repentant spirit is a must in this type of fast. Yes, we have to actually repent for this nation’s sin and feel contrite that we sat silent while God’s commands and love for Him were set aside for our own desires. We must take that 24 hours and be sleepless, restless with unceasing prayer with the fast. Fasting without prayer will have no effect. This particular fast is not to make us a better person, but to call out to God to intercede on the behalf of a nation and His church. To undo the oppression (the financial crisis of the nation and ungodly leadership), to bring forth leadership that will bring God back into this nation, and set the oppressed nation free from an idolatrous leadership and church. So we want to release a spiritual principle which is Matthew 6:33, Seek ye first the kingdom of God in this nation and His righteousness; so all these things will be added unto you.” When we fast corporately and link spiritually to many others who are fasting at the same time for the same reason, then you see manifestation because fasting and prayer is the avenue by which we take possession and dominion in the body of Christ. Remember the scripture that says, “one can chase a thousand, two can put ten thousand to flight.” One man’s fast is very powerful, but two men’s fast means multiplied strength and releases multiplied blessings and manifestation. It’s a seed principle that works when it is done for the right purpose.
William: What would you like to see God do in your personal life between now and July 3rd?
Donna: To burden my heart for this nation so heavy that I fall prostrate before Him and weep like I’ve never wept before; for loss of prayer in school for our children, to cry out for our high courts that have abandoned HIS laws for man’s justice, for God to return His justice in our civil government, One Nation Under God. To feel contrite and sorry that I didn’t get involved and cry out to our legislative branch as millions of babies were aborted in this nation, to cry for the pain that’s in my heart in seeing the church embrace the mind of the worldly system with homosexuality and sin in its leadership, for Ministers to speak God’s truth again in this nation. To cry for the harvest that is left in the dark because we won’t speak the truth and open Christ’s door to the dying world, obedience and courage to finish His work. To have God’s own heart with the weeping spirit of Christ is what I desire more personally than anything, so I can rise up and be the prayer warrior this nation needs. You see pain leads to courage to step up to the plate and fulfill our calling. My God, I cry out before You that I am living in an unclean nation, but your spirit is in my heart, and your words burned in my mind, make my heart conditioned to be the intercessor you have called me to be. Give me the courage to speak my heart for a repentance and great return to YOU from this nation and your body. To get to that place where I can speak His word with no care of what the world thinks of me but that I can be glad when they persecute me for standing for truth and rejoice in my enemy.
William: What is one of the greatest lessons the Lord has taught you through fasting?
Donna: I used to be your typical praying person in church. I would say the blessing over meals, I would say a 2 minute prayer at night, and I would pray on Sunday morning at the altar. I thought I was a pretty good Christian. But one day I decided I needed to get into the word and see really what God was saying to us all. The more I read, the more blemishes I saw in myself. The word was finally beginning to be the discerner of my heart. I was seeing so much feel good messages and still seeing blemishes in the church and I knew that the Lord had said to the churches, I am coming for an unblemished, spotless, without wrinkle bride.
I became very distressed in my spirit from what I saw in myself and the church. That luke-warm love for the one who had died and took our sins upon His shoulders so we could be reconciled to the HOLY FATHER baffled me, and then I realized the worldly mind was running the church. I began to discern in my spirit why the church had lost its power. NO PRAYER, and fasting was an alien thought.
I began to study about prayer, and I looked very closely at the biblical characters that prayed and fasted and moved mountains. It didn’t take me long to see that it was prayer and fasting that saved Daniel and his two friends in that fire. They were prayed up and fasted before they went that day before the King’s court, and they had faith in their prayers, otherwise they would not have gone that day.
I began to look at King David’s prayer life, how he prostrated himself with fasting and prayer and weeping before the Lord in a contrite spirit. He understood prayer and fasting and repentance. Joshua was prayed up for 7 days and fasted before the walls of Jericho fell. The apostles, didn’t just go and tarry in Jerusalem after Jesus’ ascension. They prayed and they fasted and they praised and worshiped, and then they prayed some more for 10 straight days, and the manifestation came and they were empowered from on High, and equipped then to preach the gospel to the nations.
Elijah was a praying man and he fasted often. A lot of people think he prayed only one time and the rain fell, but not so. We find him in the Bible praying and seeing no answer. He went back and prayed and fasted some more, unceasingly until the heavens opened up. So what I’ve learned most of all is if you don’t give up or faint, keep on fasting and praying the answer will come. Most of us give up after we’ve petitioned God two times on a matter, and say well, it must not be His will, but God told Elijah, go pray again, and again and again. So we see here the order God has for prayer and fasting in coming before His throne.
The blind man Bartemeus, he didn’t just call out to Jesus one time, he called out over and over and the people were trying to shut him up, but he cried louder, Jesus, son of David, and about that 7th time, the Master walked by Him and heard his heart felt cry. So first I learned to make sure what I was asking for was God’s will, and knowing His word gives you the answer to that, most prayers I do I petition God using His own word, and not my natural desire. Is it God’s will for this nation to return to Him and be holy? You bet it is, and that’s His will from Genesis to Revelation and this is how I know the saints can turn this nation around with the great desire of God becoming the desire of their hearts.
William: Now Donna, you've organized the Believers Ministry Online Prayer Network. Could you share with our readers a little about that ministry?
Donna: I started out doing a little daily devotional on line and I began to get prayer requests and I decided to add to the devotional a prayer line. Within a year it grew to 300 members, mostly in my area and state. I am a minister of education and I was teaching the Christian Hebraic roots in churches and one day the Lord said to me, I want you to pray for the Jews and for Israel and the persecuted church.
Well I didn’t know what to do with that because I didn’t really know at that time all the needs of Israel and knew no one in a church from a persecuted nation. I knew the biblical Israel (old Bible) and Torah from my studies, for that’s what my degree is in. So I was at that place we all come to when we are searching for our destiny and don’t know what doors to go through, when it seems all doors are closed, but I clearly heard the clarion call for the Jews and the persecuted church around the world. So I rested in Him after I just about drove myself crazy over it. But I can look back now and see how God was slowly opening the doors for me to be a prayer warrior for Israel and the persecuted church through these internet connections. I was talking Torah, obedience to God in this nation again.
I was still doing the prayer line and one day I realized I had several hundred Jewish connects. I didn’t realize it but I was teaching the same way the apostles and Jesus had in the first church. I was a Sabbath keeper and the Jews were drawn to me for all those reasons. I have never met a Jew that wasn’t interested In Jesus. They just want to hear about him from Christians that reflect Jesus’ spirit and love, and obey the Lord’s commands that Jesus taught. So I decided to begin a bigger prayer site that would be picked up by google and within that prayer line teach about prayer and our Christian roots, and bringing our nation back in line with God’s word. I began Believers Ministry Prayer Warriors from a Ning site. The rest is history and now I have personal relationships with many Jews and have brought some of them and others to the Lord. I love the Messianics, the Jews who have become believers of Christ as their Messiah, and Christians who have returned to their roots. This is a very exciting time to be alive because we can see with a clear vision of how God is bringing the two olive branches back into one branch which is prophesied for these end times. I have many connects around the world in the persecuted church and pray for many churches and ministers who are suffering greatly for Christ’s name sake. So obedience to your call is what opens doors supernaturally. Not men, and I was mistaken in thinking men would open that door, but this is just not the way Christ works for his called servants.
Most of the time in your calling it will be very lonely and you will be misunderstood by the very ones who you thought would help open those doors. And you will be tested to make your calling sure. God will watch and see if you are going to be obedient to Him or man. I passed that test but not without many sleepless nights and mistakes. God has blessed me and made it possible for me to bless many in persecuted churches and Israel financially through Believer Ministry, Inc which I am the president of with a 4 member board. We are a 501c nonprofit ministry. We do the outreach teaching, hands on teaching and participation of the feasts of the Lord, and a prayer ministry. We help the fatherless, the widows and aliens with love gifts quarterly and I am thankful that the Lord provides more and more for these causes each year from this humble ministry.
God has opened many more doors since I began the prayer line one year ago. I am the NC coordinator for the Day of Prayer For Jerusalem and an official prayer warrior site for Daughter of Zion, an umbrella to CUFI. Christians United For Israel under the leadership of John Hagee. So if you ever have been told in a church you are not anointed and you can’t do this or that in a ministry, you better run, because Christ has called all of us to a ministry. Not someone else’s ministry but the one He has chosen for us individually and this is what makes all the body parts come together and be powerful, not by some leadership that thinks they have all the gifting and anointing. God does not call the qualified but HE qualifies the called.
William: Now back to fasting for a moment--Do you have any thoughts about developing the right mental and spiritual attitude toward fasting. Many people come to me and think fasting is something that they can't do.
Donna: The scriptural definition of fasting is that it is an act or work that people do to show humility in the afflicting of themselves to accomplish the will of God in their lives and in the lives of others. This includes mourning in repentance before God. But Christians today speak of fasting as a way to subdue the flesh in order to feel more virtuous or invigorated. This has never been the fast of biblical accounts. Far too many people view the fast as an accomplishment or work of contrition that they consciously or unconsciously, think God will look favorably upon. However, today’s fast is something infinitely more rewarding than the act of physically starving ourselves to feel righteous. We have to look at what Jesus meant when He told us that we must die to the flesh to be a part of Him. We actually ascend with Him when we die to the natural world and become a kingdom child. That is the hardest thing to die to the flesh, but if we are afraid to let go of food for one day, it reflects how much we still need to die to this old flesh and be a new creature in Him. We truly are set apart then.
The most profound truth in the word of God is in Revelation where John tells us that heaven stands still for half an hour as God hears the prayers from His saints. A saint is one who has been bought with the blood of Christ and is no longer living to self or in the flesh but in Him in the spiritual realm. We are however, still subject to nature in the flesh, and we fight that battle everyday of our lives, to say no to the flesh and yes to the spiritual things He called us to. If a person is weak in the flesh with disease, or health issues I do not recommend a long fast but the Daniel fast is a great fast for those that are elderly or have health issues. The Daniel fast is fruits and vegetables and juices. It is for the prolonged fast which is needed for certain prayer needs, especially if you are praying and fasting to lift addictions, and strongholds.
William: As we approach TGAF on July 3rd, what would you like to see God do in our nation?
Donna: “If my people would turn from their wicked ways and pray and fast, I will heal their land.” A healing of the heart of America is my greatest desire and to see the blessing of return. A great Jubilee.
William: Donna, thank you for spending some time with us. Before you leave, could you leave us with a word of encouragement as we press on toward July 3rd and The Great American Fast?
Donna: When your hearts and minds are in the fast for spiritual purposes or done for another you will experience a joy unspeakable. The Holy Spirit will reveal much to you in this self afflicted state in the spiritual realm outside of your flesh. Things you have pondered on or didn’t have the answer to will come to you.
When you read His word during a fast discernment and new revelation comes. It may be a passage you have read a thousand times but God will bring that scripture to you for the purpose of your fast and prayer. The rewards of drawing near to Him and seeing the heavens open up to you will erase any fear of discomfort of a day of fasting. Each time we fast we grow spiritually in mind, soul and spirit. The greatest miracle of fasting is when we do a series of fasts and finally we see that breakthrough, and we know we have touched the throne of God and He answered us. We know then that we stopped heaven for 30 minutes and our spoken words were an incense to God’s nostrils.